The knocking at the door together with the evident announcement “I am here” indicated that my Turkish paramour had arrived. The freshly laundered and pressed shirt suggested that his Mum may have selected his wardrobe that morning and apparently you can never wear enough aftershave.
Dressed to impress in my new sundress, my smugness was quickly replaced by dismay when I stepped outside the apartment to discover our chosen mode of transport. It was a small motorbike but more “Naked Chef” than “Sons of Anarchy”. I enquired about helmets to which he responded with a shrug and “s’okay it’s Turkey”. Clearly, you’re never going get rich in Turkey by owning a biking accessory and helmet shop.
So as he was taking corners at 50 mph (didn’t think you could on a moped but hey ho you learn something new every day), he proudly announced that he passed his test after only two lessons with his old mathematics teacher – no kidding! Having observed the random driving manoeuvres of other Turkish drivers; I think that his Maths teacher may also be responsible for teaching the entire Turkish population to drive and was probably permanently drunk or medicated or possibly both. As if I wasn’t traumatised enough, he was obviously determined to demonstrate his ability to multi-task by smoking, answering his mobile phone and waving to various people en-route, whilst driving at the same time. As he accelerated through the back streets he shouted over his shoulder “I am big understand Turkey roads” as he applied the brakes a little too sharply to avoid an oncoming vehicle. Lots of Turkish insults were exchanged before carrying on to our destination. A quick scan through my English/Turkish dictionary later and I was only able to decipher the words “son of a maggot”.
Fortunately, soon after we skidded to an abrupt halt at a small café in the town centre away from the main tourist bars. I dismounted albeit a little too enthusiastically and almost knelt and kissed the ground with relief. My date greeted the waiters and escorted me to a table where our order was quickly taken. He requested an assortment of Turkish dishes and we spent a pleasant leisurely afternoon sat in the shade eating and talking.
Unfortunately, it came to an end all too soon as my date explained he had to get back to the shop for his shift. I mounted the scooter with more than a little trepidation, wishing I had partaken in some Dutch courage for the perilous return journey. Having closed my eyes for the entirety of the ride, we seemed to arrive back at the apartment in record time.
As I thanked him and bade him farewell, I realised that I didn’t know his name. “I am Ahmed” he shouted at me as he drove off at breakneck speed into the sunset.